Deductive Echocardiographic Analysis in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease
A step-by-step approach to cardiac diagnosis utilizing a chest X-ray and echocardiography is described and used to study a normal infant and six infant patients with angiocardiographically-proven complex congenital heart malformations.
The heart is divided into three major anatomical segments in order to localize the atrial and ventricular chambers and determine the relationship of the great arteries. The atrial chambers are localized by noting the position of the liver on the X-ray. The right atrium is on the same side as the liver with few exceptions. The ventricular chambers are localized by echocardiographically identifying the tricuspid and mitral valves. They are a part of the morphologically right and left ventricles, respectively. As a general rule, the atrioventricular valve whose anterior leaflet is continuous with the posterior margin of a semilunar valve is the mitral valve. The atrioventricular valve whose anterior leaflet is not continuous with a posterior semilunar valve margin is the tricuspid valve. When the tricuspid valve is to the right of the mitral valve, the ventricles are in their normal positions (ventricular d-loop); when it is to the left, the ventricles are inverted (ventricular l-loop). The relationship of the great arteries is determined by echocardiographically identifying the semilunar valves and noting their positions relative to each other, the interventricular septum and the ventricular chambers. In a ventricular d-loop, the aortic valve is usually to the right of the pulmonary valve. In a ventricular l-loop, the opposite is true. As much as a 17% error may exist when transposition of the great arteries is a component of the malformation. Therefore, as additional aids in semilunar valve identification the R-C intervals of the valves (interval between R wave of electrocardiogram and valve closure on echogram) and outside diameters of the valve roots are measured. Usually the R-C interval is longer and, in the absence of pulmonary stenosis, the outside diameter greater for the pulmonary valve. The segmental diagnoses are then combined to obtain the "type" of heart, and a careful search is made for associated defects.
Using this approach, the positions of the atrial and ventricular chambers and the relationship of the great arteries were accurately determined in the six complex cardiac malformations studied.
- Cardiac segmental diagnosis
- Ultrasound cardiography
- Noninvasive techniques
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Received July 15, 1973.
- Accepted July 18, 1974.
- © 1974 American Heart Association, Inc.